Today, I had lunch with a pastor who has been one of my greatest friends and mentors for nearly a decade. We meet periodically for encouragement. He and I both know what it is like to walk through the valley of depression. The commonalities have helped us connect from very early in our working relationship when we served together in the ministry that brought me to the area.
After we talked about how this season beats us up with depression along with other topics, I began to share my heart about self-doubt. For several years, I had many affirm my call to ministry and my gifts. I quickly learned when I took my first pastorate that some will be quick to highlight your weaknesses and make you feel like a failure. Throw a failed marriage and the need to reconstruct my entire life into the mix. That will lead you to think that maybe God is done with you. I asked this pastor, “Did I get this thing wrong? Do I really suck at preaching and music and they’re not telling me? Is there a reason why I’m hardly preaching right now? Has my divorce or something else tarnished me?” (This blog is called “Honest Thoughts from a Pastor”, so please forgive me for using the word “suck”. I’m being honest here.)
I know some of you who are reading have struggled with self-doubt. Do I know God called me before I surrendered in 1997? Yes! Did I believe the lie that the enemy was throwing my way that my best days are over? I did. I believe some of you have too. You think for one reason or another that you are beyond God’s use.
This pastor reminded me of the reality of spiritual warfare. In his over 30 years of pastoring, he has seen it. He testified to the increased intensity of the warfare. I’m a younger guy in ministry, but I have seen it too. The gospel is being compromised and distorted. Professing Christians are more deceived and more hateful than ever. The pressure to cater ministry to a crowd rather than to glorify the Christ is stronger than ever. The battle is raging!
You and I must remember that self-doubt is a tool of the devil. He wants to paralyze us because he knows the kingdom potential we have. Too many Christians aren’t enduring because they hear this twisted version of the truth that tells them the Christian life will be sunshine and lollipops, Lamborghinis on demand, and whatever your faith can create. They don’t tell you that opposition and persecution will come.
Get your battle gear on! This isn’t for wimps. Ephesians 6 lays out the equipment God has given us for victory. Put it on and let’s fight the good fight of faith together! Remember this – BORN AGAIN BELIEVERS ARE ON THE SAME TEAM! LET’S ACT LIKE IT!